Each day, thousands of Massachusetts residents seek some form of medical care. Even though this area boasts some of the nation’s leading hospitals, Massachusetts physicians and medical staff may still make mistakes and be held accountable for their actions, especially if their negligence unduly harms their patient. The most common medical malpractice cases are attributed to medication errors, which affect over one million Americans each year. Under Massachusetts medical malpractice law, victims are entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expense reimbursement and rehabilitation expenses. Medical malpractice victims are also entitled to compensation for emotional injuries, including pain and suffering and loss of companionship. In such an event, an expert Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney is a necessity.
After suffering from severe abdominal pain, Gary B. Stern rushed himself to the hospital emergency room in May 2011. He had a medical history of Crohn’s disease; however he had no significant health problems for over ten years and was healthy and fit at that time. At the hospital, Stern was examined and treated by Todd Heller and Steven Epstein, two Maryland-based gastroenterologists.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Stern filed a lawsuit against Heller and Epstein alleging that the abdominal pain he suffered was from an intestinal ulcer that was misdiagnosed. The lawsuit alleged that the two doctors were negligent in diagnosing Stern’s symptoms as an exacerbation of his Crohn’s disease. Moreover, they allegedly did not consider any other diagnoses and the subsequent surgeries caused the Crohn’s disease to flare. Stern also alleged that after Heller and Epstein both misdiagnosed his abdominal pain, he suffered from a perforated ulcer, which led to over a dozen surgeries and nearly three years of hospitalization. Stern now has short-bowel syndrome and is unable to work or care for himself. The jury awarded Stern $28 million in damages: $14 million in future medical and life care expenses, $8 million in noneconomic damages, $5 million in damages to Stern’s marital relationship and more than $1 million in past medical expenses. However, the $13 million of nonmedical damages will be reduced to $695,000 under a state law cap. Nonetheless, this award will assist Stern and his family in obtaining a full-time caregiver as Stern is in a wheelchair and gets nutrition through a central feeding line.